Claremore Daily Progress

March 16, 2014

Cardinals fall in 3A semifinals; Lady Cards eliminated in quarters

Tim Ritter
Sports Editor

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Verdigris Cardinals saw their Class 3A State Tournament journey end Friday afternoon in the Final Four.

Oklahoma City Centennial eliminated the No. 4-ranked Cardinals, 62-51 in the semifinals at the Big House in Oklahoma City.

The No. 2-ranked Oklahoma City Centennial Bison advanced to Saturday’s state finals against No. 1-ranked Okemah.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, ended their season with a 25-5 overall record under veteran head coach Randy Upshaw.

The Cardinals kept it close in the first quarter, and only trailed OKC Centennial, 16-15.

Tyler Monroe keyed the offensive spark early and often, and finished with a team-high 17 points.

Austin Garner, however, helped the Bison build a 34-30 lead at halftime.

Garner also contributed with 17 points to lead the Bison.

Monroe received help on the offensive end from 6-foot-1 junior guard Cade Upshaw, who finished in double figures with 12 points.

OKC Centennial outscored the Cardinals, 28-21 in the second half to secure the victory.

Also scoring for the Cardinals were Laef Payne with seven points, Brewster Peacock and Caleb Jones with six points each and Ryan Skalnik with three.

In the quarterfinals Thursday evening, Jones tallied a game-high 19 points, while Peacock and Upshaw added 15 each to lead the Cardinals past Spiro, 68-59.

The Cardinals built a 20-14 first quarter lead and extended the margin to 39-23 at halftime.

Verdigris continued to add its lead with 15 points in the third quarter to push the margin to 54-40.

McKinley Whitfield powered Spiro’s offense with 18 points.

Monroe also contributed with nine points for the Cardinals.

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The No. 4-ranked Verdigris Lady Cardinals had a short stay in the Class 3A State Tournament.

On Thursday, the Lady Cardinals fell to No. 2-ranked Alva, 68-56 in the state quarterfinals at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany.

With the loss, the Lady Cardinals capped their season with a 25-3 overall record under third-year head coach Mike Buntin.

From the opening tip, the Lady Cardinals were playing catch-up to the athletic Alva Goldbugs.

Alva took a 20-16 first-quarter lead and extended it to 37-28 at halftime.

Jaden Hobbs set the tone early for Alva, and finished with a game-high 30 points.

Though, Verdigris trimmed Alva’s lead to 44-41 on Courtney Risenhoover’s offensive putback in the third quarter, the Goldbugs dominated the rest of the way.

Senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell led Verdigris with 21 points and freshman guard Keara Battenfield had 11. Senior forward Taylor Beck also finished with 10 points, while Risenhoover had eight and senior Caitlyn Hanslovan had 5.